Pittsburgh man who shot, killed Beechview family’s dog gets 1 to 2 years behind bars
A Pittsburgh man will spend one to nearly two years behind bars for shooting and killing a dog inside a Beechview house following a Super Bowl party while the family who owned the pet slept.
Travis Hamilton, 23, of the city’s Banksville neighborhood, pleaded guilty Wednesday to animal cruelty and reckless endangerment charges for the death of a 4-year-old dog, a boxer-Labrador mix named Lucy, court records show.
Hamilton struck a plea deal with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and entered the plea before Judge Anthony Mariani, district attorney’s spokesman Mike Manko said.
Hamilton, who has been in jail for six months, was sentenced to time served plus an additional 11 ½ to 23 months.
Hamilton also received seven years of probation — during which he is prohibited from owning animals, Manko said. He also is prohibited from contacting the family who owned the dog, Mankos said.
Dog shot while family, friends slept
Following a night of watching football, drinking beer and listening to music, a few people went to bed upstairs at a Beechview house on Belasco Avenue while two friends fell asleep on a couch, with Hamilton seen sitting in a living room chair around 1 a.m. on Feb. 4, the complaint said.
Five adults and a child inside the house told police they heard a gun fired inside the residence about 1:30 a.m., the complaint said.
A woman whose family owns the dog rushed downstairs to find her son and his friends screaming at Hamilton and demanding that he leave the house, the complaint said.
The dog lay on the floor with a gunshot wound to the chest, the witnesses told police.
All of the witnesses reported seeing Hamilton pacing the room with his hands on his head, and multiple people said they saw the handle of a gun on his lap and sticking out from his pocket, according to police.
None of them knew that Hamilton had brought a gun into the house, the complaint said.
One of the witnesses said that the dog appeared to “love” Hamilton and on a previous day, he watched as Hamilton pushed the dog away, clenched his first and cursed at the animal, the complaint said.
The complaint did not cite any interviews or explanations from Hamilton, whose defense attorneys said the shooting was an accident.
A veterinarian who examined the dog said “the pet died as a direct result of the bullet wound injuries,” the complaint said.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .